Kirk Boxleitner/Staff PhotoTom King spares at least one day a week to drive cancer patients to and from much-needed medical appointments in north Snohomish County through the American Cancer Society’s ‘Road To Recovery’ program.

Kirk Boxleitner/Staff PhotoTom King spares at least one day a week to drive cancer patients to and from much-needed medical appointments in north Snohomish County through the American Cancer Society’s ‘Road To Recovery’ program.

‘Road To Recovery’ serves patients’ needs, offers avenues to heal

MARYSVILLE — Tom King's "Road To Recovery" began last summer, following his wife's death.

MARYSVILLE — Tom King’s “Road To Recovery” began last summer, following his wife’s death.

Six months after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, Stacey King died Jan. 4, 2014, at the age of 55.

She and Tom had been married 33 years, and one year after her diagnosis, he made up his mind to do what he could for cancer patients who were still alive.

“I’m retired, so after the training and background check, I was able to drive patients once or twice a week,” King said of his stint as a “Road To Recovery” driver for the American Cancer Society, which he’s continued going into this summer.

King typically schedules his drive times for Fridays, to coincide with his volunteer work for the Marysville Community Food Bank.

“There’s a real need for this service,” King said. “Some of these folks don’t own a vehicle to begin with, while others wind up so tired and nauseated after their treatments that they can’t drive themselves. Not everyone has a support system of friends or family who can give them rides.”

King tries to stay within north Snohomish County during his driving stints, but he’s taken patients as far as Seattle and gotten to know a lot about them.

“Not everyone feels like talking, and I respect that, but a lot of them do,” King said. “One fella was a retired barber who’d been in the Korean War and customized hot rods from the Fifties.”

King has shared stories of his own loss, when asked, although he tends to be brief in his details. What matters more is that he provide an ear, if needed, and be reliable as a driver.

“People are counting on you to make their medical appointments, so you have to be there on time,” King said. “Obviously, you have to be a good driver as well, but even little things, like making sure your passengers aren’t too cold or hot, make all the difference.”

Dawn Hackett, the Snohomish County coordinator for Road To Recovery since December of 2013, said 41 drivers are active in the program, but barely half are available at any given time, between work and family obligations.

That being said, any amount of time drivers can spare would be appreciated.

“Even if it’s just one day a month, it would help out,” Hackett said. “It doesn’t even have to be the same day each month. Our needs fluctuate so much that we can use drivers any time, any day they’re available. Even I’ve pitched in to drive sometimes. That’s how I got started in this program.”

As a cancer survivor, Hackett attested to the practical and emotional value of Road To Recovery, both to the patient and the driver.

For details, contact Jerri Wood at 425-404-2199 or jerri.wood@cancer.org.

More in News

Lions Clubs ‘Give Big for Health’ White Cane Days on Giving Tuesday

Undeterred by COVID, clubs fundraise online for vision, hearing and health screening programs

Inslee: Stay home for 2 weeks

By Jerry Cornfield and Zachariah Bryan The Herald OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay… Continue reading

Fences have been put up around Marysville playgrounds to keep kids off. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville leaders concerned as (almost) everything’s closing

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s… Continue reading

Briefly

Beware of coronavirus scams SEATTLE – U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran is… Continue reading

Jennifer Thompson, left, and her father Ron Thompson secure a new remembrance plaque to the Oso slide site gate on Sunday, near Oso. Ron Thompson handcrafts a new plaque for the gate every year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Community remembers Oso slide victims, survivors

By Ben Watanabe The Herald OSO — The power of remembering the… Continue reading

People gather to pick up special allergy meals before leaving Lakewood High School on Wednesday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Districts taking meals to students since schools are closed

By Stephanie Davey The Herald LAKEWOOD — Children wearing pajamas stood outside… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Letter about coronavirus from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

This is an edited version of a letter Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Marysville leaders’ trip to D.C. productive

MARYSVILLE – City leaders recently obtained advice on how to get more… Continue reading

City Council works toward financing new Fire Station 48

ARLINGTON – The city signed an agreement with Sterling Bank to negotiate… Continue reading

DOUGLAS BUell/Staff Photos                                Lead cook Keina Gowins with Presidents Elementary hands out free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and parents outside the school Wednesday. Presidents and AHS serve as central kitchen sites for preparing meals, which starting next week will expand to 12 delivery sites from Silvana to Oso. Right, Arlington Food Bank executive director Carla Gastineau and Mike Simpson, food bank board president and owner of Arlington Grocery Outlet, partnered with the district with their Meals Til Monday program, and gave a woman a box of donated food while at Presidents.
Arlington students won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 school closures

ARLINGTON – Arlington schools are closed through April 24 to help fight… Continue reading

City of Arlington carries out operational changes to encourage social distancing
City of Arlington carries out operational changes to encourage social distancing

ARLINGTON – The city has made a series of operational changes in… Continue reading